AirFryday: How to cook frozen fish fillets in an air fryer

AirFryday: How to cook frozen fish fillets in an air fryer
Tony Jackman’s frozen crumbed hake fillets cooked in an air fryer. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

When we introduced our weekly AirFryday feature early in 2023, this was one of our first recipes. We’ve picked up a lot of AirFryday devotees since then, so here’s a reprise of it while Food Editor Tony Jackman is away for a week.

Let’s be honest. There isn’t always time (or budget) to source fresh fish, and families need a ready solution on hand for a quick weeknight supper. Personally, I do love to buy fresh fish from the fish shop in the docks at Gqeberha, but that’s a half-day drive from h0me. So you will find frozen hake fillets in the Jackman freezer.

I find them tricky to cook in a frying pan. The heat veers in an instant from too hot to not hot enough, or vice versa. One side catches almost every time. I don’t like doing them in the oven, since it’s far from economical. I’m also allergic to my microwave oven, which leads us to the air fryer which I’m liking more and more every day.

A quick Google told me that, as with frying them, fish fillets need to go straight from the freezer into the air fryer, after preheating it. I tried it and they came out perfectly the first time. They’re undoubtedly the most successful frozen fish fillets I’ve cooked. It’s a big win.

Here’s how I did it…


Frozen crumbed hake fillets (however many you want to cook)

Cooking oil spray

Lemon wedges

Granny Betty’s air fryer chips (as many as you want)

Salt to taste


Don’t defrost the fillets. They need to come straight out of the freezer and into the preheated air fryer.

Preheat the air fryer drawer at 190℃ for 5 minutes.

Coat the base with cooking oil spray. Place the fillets in, with space between them for the hot air to circulate, and cook for 10 minutes at 190℃.

Turn them over carefully and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve with my mom’s family-favourite chips, the recipe for which I’ve adapted for an air fryer, and lemon wedges. Season with salt before eating. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


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